by James Garon, Kelly Day, Roger Loveless, John Ludin, Roy Langston, T. Shakespeare
U.S. Gold Ltd
Crash Issue 26, Mar 1986   page(s) 32

Producer: US Gold
Retail Price: £7.95

With a swish of sword and leap and a bound, Zorro arrives on the Spectrum after a brief sojourn on the Amstrad and Commodore. For those of you not terribly au fait with early Hollywood attempts at adventure and excitement, the legend runs thus:

It's very simple really, Zorro is really 18th century Los Angeles equivalent of Batman. Defender of the innocent, scourge of evil, dreadnought of chicanery, you know the sort of thing. Anyway, Zorro is innocently strolling down the boulevard when his keen super hero eyes spot the evil Colonel Garcia abducting a fair maiden. This is not the sort of thing that Zorro allows to go unnoticed but it soon becomes obvious that there's no way of catching up with the bloated villain so a plan must be decided upon. First on the agenda is the retrieval of the fair lady's handkerchief that she carelessly dropped during her kidnapping. The overall plan is to get to Garcia's jail and release her. To do this quite a few essential objects need to be collected and the first is the handkerchief.

Zorro is in fact one the now numerous arcade adventures, the sort where you have to collect an object to be able to get another object and so on until your ultimate aims are met. The important items designated for collection flash and are picked up by just passing over them. These are automatically added to the inventory. There are other artifacts around the different screens. These can be picked up, but only one item may be held at any time.

Zorro's repertoire of movement is quite broad. In classic arcade adventure style he can go left, right and jump. Fighting is also possible and more than probable when you encounter some of Garcia's henchmen.

The view of Zorro's immediate area takes up nearly all the screen. As Zorro passes off one side of the screen another view flicks into the scene. The main difference between Zorro and other arcade adventures is its ability to have the main character happily interacting with the background. Most of the different aspects of the background scenes can be employed in the most heroic of fashions. There are curtain rails that can be clambered along, trampolines to be bounced on and various other active props and pieces. The problems presented though are not the sort to be wholly solved by a deft hand and a quick eye. To get to greasy Garcia's stronghold a number of complex and not immediately obvious puzzles need solutions. The main obstacle is the underground cavern system. It's through here that the apparently useless items that have previously been collected leg the damsel's handkerchief) can be used as keys to get past normally impassable doors.


Control keys: 2/W up/down; O/P left/right; Z to activate
Joystick: not stated, though options available
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: limited
Graphics: above average
Sound: poor

So, the valiant sword-thruster of television fame strikes the Spec, eh? A lot of strategy is needed to get anywhere in this game. To me, initially, it was far too hard to make any major progression through the screens and if I hadn't had to write this review, I doubt I would have persevered long enough. The graphics on most of the screens are quite good, and Zorro himself walks, pumps, fights, and bounces around in quite a respectable manner. The loading screen is nothing special, and more could have been made of the game generally. It's good fun to play for a while, but then gets a bit tedious for my liking.

At first sight Zorro seems a little like Bruce Lee but don't be taken in by first appearances. Zorro isn't half as playable or compelling as Bruce Lee. The tasks are very logical (get key, open door) so the game will be fairly simple to complete after a little thinking. Graphically this game is sub-average, the characters are jerky and the backgrounds are often a little garish. The sound is poor with an awful tune on the title screen and next to no spot effects during the game itself. Generally I wouldn't recommend this game as for eight quid it just isn't worth it.

En Garde Monsieur, or should that be En Garde all tape buyers. If US Gold had kept up to their good standards Zorro would have been a good, addictive game, it turned out to be a waste of time, and not all that good. The graphics are small and some of the screens need a lot of time before you pass on to the next. You would have more fun watching black and white episodes of the films on the box than you would playing the game.

Use of Computer: 64%
Graphics: 59%
Playability: 54%
Getting Started: 54%
Addictive Qualities: 55%
Value for Money: 52%
Overall: 53%

Summary: General Rating: A good idea with some nice touches, that fails eventually in presentation.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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